Save yourselves! Save yourselves! Is all the second mate could manage, in a high pitched shriek, as he abandoned ship and headed across the reef for shore. The boat had gone sideways, and foamies were bashing into all 80ft of us. Roosta and I were down in the hull in the sleeping quarters, searching for valuables and passports, and throwing anything we could find, up to the Irish brothers, who packed it all into bags and sent the stuff to shore. The huge pot of oily chicken curry falls out of the kitchen window onto the deck, making it slippery but great smelling. The chickens had escaped their hocks and were trying their best to be seagulls, getting sucked under and around the boat with each surge of angry foam. The waves weren't even that big. But they packed a big punch against the side of the huge hull, pulling and pushing us about in the cabin. We could not fight the impact. Just go with it. Brace against the mast or walls - and bang! Another one would hit, inching us closer to the beach each time. My hard shell backpack cracked trying to protect my computer and video camera an my back. The television went overboard.
In fact, everything was overboard by now. Even the fuel. 500 litres of fuel in plastic Jerry cans was threatening to spill out all over the pristine reef. A human chain was setup, and we salvaged the fuel and scuttled the entire ship, motors and all. Oh ya. I forgot to tell you where we were. Desert Point. Lombok. Indo.
Back to the beginning...
Rocky. The man.
Bingin, Padang and Ulu's had treated us nicely, and we surfed acrossthe island, some right handers. But it was time to get out there. This Rocky chap had gotten himself into the sweet position of organising surf charters from out of Bali, to the fabled Lombok waves and beyond. We had met up with the two Irish brothers - the worst drivers on Indo...and that's a claim! Then we found a few youngsters from the Channel Islands, two Ozzie Captains, a lesbian, and a few others, making sixteen. A big crowd, but not a problem to us at all. We needed the numbers to bring the price down anyway. Stoked. My first time in Indo, this was in about 2002 btw. Off we go. For a while anyway. One of the three outboards cuts out. We head for a little inhabited island nearby. Anchor. And the Indo crew start overhauling the motor. Or try to anyway. An hour goes by. The Bintang starts flowing. We snorkel. Talk shit. The nervous looking Lesbian climbs to the highest point possible. The motor isn't fixed. Hours have disappeared. One outboard gets mounted on the skiff, the broken one and two crew disappear over the horizon at high speed. The sun get's hotter. We are sick of beer now. Rice wine! I swim into the island and unbelievably find myself tearing down an island track on a rented DT125! I got an empty 5l bottle, and I buy all the ric e wine on this little isle.
Swim back to the boat and now the party is on.Turns out it is St. Patricks day, and the Irish brothers go beserk on the foredeck. Music pumping, but the underlying frustration wouldn't go away, until the skiff appeared back over the horizon, victorious. They reinstalled the motor and it fired! But. The skipper - Lucky, wasn't into traversing the ultra deep channel to Lombok, as it was too late, we would get there in the dark. That's when it went pear. The blokes wouldn't have it. Mutiny. Lucky and his nervous crew were overthrown and the anchor upped. A few hours cruising and into the sunset. A sailfish jumped in front of us. We all saw it. The music was blaring. The Irish dancing jigs. The Lesbian slightly more relaxed. 15 vs 1! Then, out of the blue it came. Pitch black and straight at us. Major squall. Complete blackout with huge winds and pelting rain. The Irish are dancing harder. I clamber up to the Lesbo chick's perch and she welcomes me. Must have been the storm. Boat is rocking. We slow to about 5 knots. It is now dark and getting darker. And then it clears. Ocean is melted plastic. We can almost see. Small swell rolling us gently in the current. Indos start flashing torches to the beach, and someone responds. The boat rocks a little more than usual, we can feel it way up in the perch. I instinctively look around and in the hue of night, I see a shape. As I holler, it breaks. Not so big. But we definitely on the button for a pounding. Huge outriggers snap like matches as the foamy picks us up and pounds us directly onto Desert Point. Awesome!
Personal space in Indo is a relative concept.
Wow, what a trip. We all sober up immediately, except the Irish. They going mad, loving it! Survival instinct takes over and Roosta, myself and the two Ozzie Captains - for Ozzies they were way cool, spring into action. First we chucked the boards off, figuring they can float and will be washed in, and could be used by anyone who needed. Then the call for booties all round. This was the best decision made all day. Then the passports and valuables.
The Irish always know how to start a party.
This is where we cut back in...
Human chains. Unbelievable walks across the treacherous reef, floating drums of fuel and whatever we could, onto land. This is where the fun actually starts. Now Lombok is where they chopped that dude's arm off with a machete, when he gave chase after they robbed him while camping on the beach at Deserts. Every local in the point area, about 50 or more, arrived within minutes. We made a laager with all we could. Made a huge fire. Put the kids in it. Got them sleeping. The Irish, drunk as hell, still pulled their weight massively, and deserved many praises. Now a Lombok dude has no convention of personal space. They stand next to you, touching arms. Even though you don't know them. Very strange. They touch you. They stare at you. They ask for cigarettes, booze, water, sugar, food, anything they can see...They don't ask permission for anything. We give them chewy sweets and it keeps them busy. One of these local idiots almost poured petrol onto the fire from the jerry can. He would have exploded all over us! Roosta stopped him just in time! Roosta led the Irish in our security detail. They walked around the laager like soldiers, Bintangs as rifles in hand, 'til the morning. I lay back on my backpack, on a dune next to the laager, and tried to sleep. I thought it was a cockroach runing over me at first. It was a crab. One of millions of little pink crabs that like to explore. They crawled over my face, my feet, into my bag, everywhere they were. But they were roach sized and harmless. Wierd. Get some sleep. Day broke to a spectacle I shan't forget. A true and truly shipwrecked party on the sandy beach of Desert Point.
This is what we risk life and limb for.
Things lying all over but contained in a semi-semblance of security and safety provided by the laager. Around the perimiter of the lagger we are surrounded by locals. All we could do now was surf. So the Irish, and myself and Roosta sampled the pristine waves of Desert Point. In the meantime, the Ozzie Captains - legends - were making a plan. The boat was hopeless. At high tide it floated right in to the beach and was now well and truly VAS. We still had beer. And lotsa food. Which eased some of the pain. Then the sun really came out. We built lean-to's. Drank plenty water. We were actually having quite a jol, in the wake of the incredulous experiences of the night. But we were in deep shit. No comms. No escape. Anything could have gone wrong and could still go wrong. The plan by the Captains was simple. They had a map. Off they went. They found this tiny village. It had a truck. They rented the truck. That would take us 4 days or something, through Dengue Fever soaked forests, 16 up, to get to a port across the island, that would cost another fortune again, to charter a boat to get us back to Bali! Sheeeiiit. But we were poked with NO options. The Indo crew resigned themselves to their fate. They would get word back to Bali and Rocky somehow, maybe with us, and Rocky would have to come to their rescue. Bringing punishment with him. We wait in the blasting sun. The locals have not budged an inch.
This is big entertainment for them. And they are entertaining us. A crowd are close by, smoking what looks like tiny bamboo things - and they are teaching a 1 year old baby to smoke too? Then finally, the truck shows up, and at lunch time or later, we start loading. This is going to be a major problem. Not enough space. I mean me and Roosta have two coffins, and packs. Everyone else has pretty much the same. Plus hand luggage. It's a tipper truck. 4 Cubes maybe... Then another all of a sudden. Would you believe it? Here comes a yacht from around the corner...a really cool looking yacht. And what's that?
A really cool looking yellow skiff being lowered, that comes racing into shore, right in front of us. I run down. This is all slow motion. He asks the buzz. I tell him. He says - wait here. I wait. He buzzes and comes back. With fantastic news. 5$ each and we back in Bali today still. They doing sea trials on their new yacht, and the 5$ includes beer and snacks?
Salvation a sweet sight.
Heavens alive?! Well, what a surreal feeling of relief. Offload the truck. The skiff does multiple trips to the yacht and back with boards and packs and stuff. Some people get a ride out too. We decide to swim. Across the 4th deepest channel in the world, towards the yacht, looking oh so pretty. Only thing, the 4th deepest channel on the planet hosts the 4th strongest current as well. One by one we were swept away...through ideal Tiger Shark waters. I had my hat on...could not make any speed. Others were tired. Roosta and a few good swimmers made the yacht...but the skiff was dispatched to rescue the rest of us stragglers. We finally clambered aboard. The anchor was weighed. As I stared back at Deserts and that boat on the now distant reef, all I could think to do, was find a place to simply...sleep! I found a luxurious saloon with aircon and passed out. No beer required. Back in Bali. Getting the money back out of Rocky wasn't easy, he was performing and throwing things around, brandishing a knife, but Roosta and I did get our $250's...we found out later we were the only ones refunded. Rocky just dissed all the others?! Back to the peninsula and into the comforts of a Bingin waram, where we played with the fun left and partied with a bunch of mad touros, for our last few days. At
least we actually got to Deserts!